A ban on two Anglican resources used in Special Religious Education (SRE) has been reversed after talks between Archbishop Glenn Davies and the Education Minister Adrian Piccoli.
The move follows a directive issued to public school principals on the 6th May, regarding You: An Introduction by Dr Michael Jensen and the Sneaking Suspicion resource by Dr John Dickson, both published by Christian Education Publications (CEP).
The department’s directive said the books ‘may be in conflict with departmental policy and legislative requirements’ and said ‘principals are required to direct SRE providers to cease using them immediately.’
No further information about the concerns was given in the directive.
Another publication, ‘Teen Sex by the Book’ was mentioned in the directive after a campaign by a Victorian facebook group which claimed it was used in SRE.
The minister and the department now acknowledges the book is not and never was part of the SRE curriculum.
After ministerial intervention and the meeting with Archbishop Davies on Friday 15th May, Mr Piccoli wrote to Dr Davies saying (about the Dickson and Jensen books) “I wish to confirm that there is no ban in place on these books and I have requested the DEC to inform the Directors Public Schools accordingly.”
The minister conceded there had been no prior consultation with the Anglican Church before the directive was issued and that such consultation would be sought in future.
￼”As we discussed, the original memorandum was issued by the DEC on advice that there was a potential risk to students in the delivery of this material, if not taught sensitively and in an age appropriate manner. I was pleased to hear of your assurance that sensitive, age appropriate delivery of SRE is an integral part of the training of SRE teachers in the Diocese of Sydney.” the minister said in the letter.
“On that basis I am pleased that agreement has been reached that the Anglican Church will continue to work closely with DEC to relieve any concerns associated with the delivery of SRE, given the supreme importance both the NSW Government and the Anglican Church place on protecting the welfare of children.” he said.
The letter to Dr Davies gave the minister’s assurance that “The NSW Government is supportive of and committed to SRE, as is the Anglican Church, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with you on delivering best practice SRE.”